Chance to give back motivation for pupil coaches, officials

East Otago High School pupil Samuel Paton was Dunedin Netball’s volunteer of the month for June....
East Otago High School pupil Samuel Paton was Dunedin Netball’s volunteer of the month for June. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Pupil coaches and officials are vital in our secondary schools. They not only play an important role as role models for fellow pupils but they also give up a lot of their time and put in a lot of dedication to help others. Taking part in sport doesn’t necessarily mean being a player. Coaches and officials are just as important and there are real opportunities out there for pupils who choose to use their strength and leadership to guide others in enjoying sport. We often hear about player success but in Otago there is definitely no shortage of talent when it comes to officials and coaches.

Otago Girls’ High School

Kate Pyper (netball coach)

How and why did you start coaching?

I started through school because there was a year 9 netball team that didn’t have a coach. I did this because I have played netball for so long and have had coaches that have made a difference in how I have played and why I have continued to play so I thought I should give back and help improve the skills of the year 9s coming through to play the game.

Who helps you in your coaching role?

The sports department at school and other year 9 team coaches have helped us majorly with coaching, especially when we are away and need them to take our team or need some assistance on how to improve our players’ skills if we get stuck with ideas.

What is difficult or challenging being a coach?

One of the challenges is getting all the girls at training and games every week because when the girls aren’t showing up or communicating with us, it’s hard to help them improve individually and as a team.

What do you find rewarding about coaching?

Knowing that we are making a difference to them and helping them improve their game and seeing their confidence improve and knowing that we are teaching them skills that can take for the rest of the years they play netball.

Laura Allison (netball umpire)

How and why did you start umpiring?

I started at my previous school (Balmacewen Intermediate) through a ‘‘New Umpires Programme’’ that the school has. I decided that I wanted to umpire because I always liked being a leader and I felt like this was my chance to put myself out there and try something new.

What support do you have as an umpire?

There is support from both my school and organisation. Firstly, Dunedin Netball is great and has support for umpires. There are umpire coaches that sometimes come and watch your games and they give you feedback but also answer any questions that you may have. This is a great way and helps you to learn ways that you can improve while feeling supported. Even though I have been umpiring for a few years now, I still get feedback and mentoring from the coaches. Within Otago Girls’ High School, there is a great amount of support for netball umpires. Last year, Kylie O’Brien, who is a great umpire, came into school and ran weekly sessions with any umpires who wanted to come along. This was great for improving my knowledge of the sport. Kylie also still often checks in with us and we can always email her if we need any extra support or questions.

What is difficult or challenging about umpiring?

Something that I find difficult is parents on the sideline making remarks about certain calls that you have made or didn’t make. This is often intimidating and can make me doubt myself. Recently I went to a tournament and this exact thing happened. I have previously attended a course on umpiring, and I learned techniques to deal with this sort of situation. So as a result, I turned around and looked at the parents and raised my hand as I wanted them to stop. They then ended up apologising and didn’t bother me the rest of the game. This type of situation was something that I have quite often felt difficult approaching but have now gained enough confidence to ask them to stop.

What do you find rewarding about umpiring?

At certain tournaments, there is the reward of getting paid. There is also the reward of gaining certain level qualifications within umpiring. Lastly, it has the reward of gaining more experience in leadership and talking to people.

Future goals?

One of my goals for the next year is to gain my zone theory umpire qualification. This is the next step leading on from my current qualification.

Tokomairiro High School

Kaydence Noye (netball coach)

I am a year 12 pupil at Tokomairiro. I play hockey for the senior girls first XI and club hockey for the Ketob Totaras. I am also the co-coach of the year 7-8 Tane and Tahine hockey team. I’ve been playing hockey for six years and was nominated this year to be captain of my hockey team, which was and is amazing experience.

This year I decided to co-coach the year 7-8s because I’ve always had a passion for hockey and I love to help teach others about the game. It is an amazing sport. I enjoy helping others to build up their own personal strengths within themselves that can help them become the hockey player they want to become.

My goal for this year was that I want the players to grow within themselves but to also grow as a team so they can improve and really enjoy playing hockey as a team. Our school is very supportive when it comes to hockey as we are a sporty school. We have amazing teachers who help us train for our hockey games, train us for tournaments and they go above and beyond to make sure that it stays fun, positive and all round just a good vibe.

Murphy Lister (rugby/touch referee)

I’m a 15-year-old touch and rugby referee from Milton. Up until two years ago, I had been a player of both touch and rugby, but I decided my passion would be refereeing, finding inspiration from world-class referees Nigel Owens and Ben O’Keeffe, particularly Nigel with his humour.

As a way to stay involved with the sports I love, I took up the whistle and started refereeing, a decision I’m happy I made. Under the guidance of Alex Buttery and Thys McCurdy, I honed my skills as a touch referee, going to my first tournament, which was the Te Wai Pounamu tournament in Christchurch in December 2020. Since then, I’ve refereed at South Island secondary schools, the Otago Premier League and many other touch tournaments.

I also achieved my level one referee badge at Te Wai Pounamu 2021, an achievement I’d been working towards for a long time. It turned out to be a very successful tournament for me, as I was picked as one of the three referees for the under-14 boys final, which I had the privilege of sharing with two other South Otago referees, JP Human and Ollie Shore. I was also selected for two national tournaments, New Zealand secondary schools and youth nationals, but these were unfortunately cancelled due to Covid.

In 2021, I took up the whistle for another passion of mine, rugby. The South Otago Rugby Referees took me under their wing, something I will be forever grateful for. Under the watchful eyes of Colin Calteaux and Wayne Carruthers, I got better and better in my craft, refereeing many South Otago High School home games, and assistant refereeing in the premier competition. I was fortunate enough to be awarded the Otago rugby secondary schools referee of the year at the Otago prizegiving that year and sharing the Southern Region up-and-coming referee award with Ollie Shore.

This year has been an even better one, as I was a referee for the under-13 Topp Cup games a few weeks ago.

East Otago High School

Samuel Paton (netball umpire)

Samuel started umpiring senior secondary netball this year. He played in the East Otago High School mixed netball team in 2021 and umpired sometimes when his team was on duty. With no mixed team this year and still wanting to be involved, Samuel took up the whistle. He has always loved umpiring, and this gave him a nudge towards it. Samuel umpires both Saturday year 9-13 and Thursday year 7-8 games.

East Otago High School has offered courses for him to go on and offers many opportunities to use his talent by attending tournaments with a wide range of school teams. Dunedin Netball has also offered courses and support, and Maigan Freight has gone above and beyond to be supportive and contribute to Samuel’s learning. Samuel also has a Saturday game mentor, Kathi Scott, who watches games and gives amazing feedback.

Travel can be a challenge as Samuel lives 90 minutes from the courts. He is very fortunate to have an amazing neighbour, Jodie Kemp, who provides transport every Saturday to games, as she is the coach of the East Otago High School teams. Samuel was recognised by Dunedin Netball as the volunteer of the month in June.

He aspires to one day be an international netball umpire and is working towards his centre theory and practical and hopes to have this completed by the end of the season. Next year Samuel will aim to get his zone theory.

Josh Stoddart draws up a play for a Bayfield High School basketball team.
Josh Stoddart draws up a play for a Bayfield High School basketball team.

Bayfield High School

Josh Stoddart (coach/referee)

Josh began coaching at Bayfield as a year 11, when he and brother Ben coached junior boys basketball. He has stayed in that role, alongside Isaac Hobbs, as well as picking up the role of coaching the Bayfield junior A boys volleyball team in 2021 and 2022 with Thomas McLean. This included giving up weekends to coach and referee at Otago volleyball championships over these years.

On top of these coaching roles, Josh has been a touch referee. Last year, he was the coach of our junior touch team and now, in 2022, Josh was the referee for our junior boys football team.

Josh has constantly volunteered for any role that he believed he could assist with in his years at Bayfield. Josh is a diligent and committed coach, who has earned respect from all teams he has coached through his quiet but commanding manner and through being an exceptional role model in all the sports he has played throughout his schooling years.

Josh has been able to pass on the skills he has learnt from his own fantastic coaches and says the rewards of coaching are seeing the player development and watching the hard work be displayed on court. Josh never aspired to be a top-tier coach and volunteered for these roles only to help and support Bayfield sports.

Bridget Mullally (Dunstan High School) is never far away from a hockey game. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Bridget Mullally (Dunstan High School) is never far away from a hockey game. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Dunstan High School

Bridget Mullally (hockey coach)

I am a year 13 pupil, and I coach the Dunstan High School Stripes junior hockey team. This involves travelling to Cromwell every Thursday night and running after-school training on Mondays at Pioneer Park.

I initially began coaching in 2019, when I took on a Terrace School mini sticks team (year 3-4). I have continued to coach ever since as I feel it is important to give back to the Alexandra hockey community which has put a lot of time and effort into me as a player.

While it has at times been a struggle to balance school responsibilities as the Dunstan High School board representative, class work and my part-time job at a cafe, I find coaching extremely rewarding.

My mum, Sally Mullally, has always been heavily involved in Central Otago hockey, and I have always looked up to her for that. I have learned from her how fulfilling it is to pass on my own hockey knowledge in a way that allows me to form greater community and school connections.

This year has been my favourite year of coaching so far. I think this is because I am coaching fellow pupils within the school. I have an awesome bunch of year 9 and 10s who are enthusiastic, easy going and eager to learn making my job a lot easier. So far, we have had a very successful season and are aiming to make the finals, and hopefully win the senior B competition. But win or lose, I have loved my time coaching and will definitely continue to give back to the hockey community, wherever I may end up in the future.

Bridget Mullally (Dunstan High School) is never far away from a hockey game.
Bridget Mullally (Dunstan High School) is never far away from a hockey game.

Columba College

Zoe McElrea (netball umpire)

Number of years umpiring netball?

Zoe started umpiring when she was a year 7 pupil, so has been officiating netball games for six years now.

What motivated Zoe to begin umpiring?

Zoe originally got involved in umpiring because she thought it would help improve her knowledge of the rules of the game, and therefore help her to become a better netball player.

Does she receive good support from any people or organisations for her umpiring development?

Columba has an umpiring group, so Zoe knows who all her fellow Columba umpires are. She has also found Dunedin Netball helpful for umpire coaching and further qualifications.

What is difficult or challenging as an umpire?

Zoe personally finds the speed of the game and the quick nature of the calls quite challenging at times. However, she believes it is just about having the confidence in knowing that you do understand the ruling correctly, and to blow your whistle when you have seen something.

What are some of the rewards from umpiring?

Zoe really enjoys umpiring games that are close because she knows that good umpiring allows the players to have a fair game. Zoe also gets to go away on lots of trips that she wouldn’t have the opportunity to as a player, so that is certainly a big reward for her.

Any goals with umpiring?

Zoe is sitting her zone theory in a couple of weeks, so she is hopeful that she will pass this test which would enable her to get her zone practical over the next couple of seasons. Zoe’s main goal is to keep umpiring with her ultimate goal to continue improving.

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter